Our Stories

The Story of Brittany McIntosh

by Cindy McIntosh
[ Brittany McIntosh ]
Brittany Melissa McIntosh
9th September, 1997 - 1st April, 2005

In September of 2004, when I thought everything in my life was going well, our only daughter Brittany was struck with a ball on her right shin at school. Her dad and I took her to the doctor because it was swollen. During the course of the seven day treatment, it did not get any better. We had to rush her to the hospital as she was a known asthmatic, she was checked, but she was not wheezing as we thought she would be.

Being saved for three years, I still did not know what to do. Seeking God was very far from my mind. As time elapsed and the doctor spoke to me, some medical terms were used that I did not understand. On Sunday 24th October 2004, we had to take her back to the doctor as she was having severe pain because of the injury to her leg and the pain seemed to be travelling to different parts of the body. The doctor recommended us to a paediatrician. We took her on Monday 25th October 2004, where blood tests were done.

All of this time I was so taken up in my daughter’s illness, I did not understand that this was the beginning of a season where my faith would be sorely tested. Believe me, I still did not even think to pray as I should have. On Tuesday October 26th 2004, about 6:00pm the doctor called us with the most disturbing news! Brittany, our only daughter was diagnosed with cancer. A very rare disease called Acute Myleiod Leukaemia (AML). He said to me that this disease could not be treated in our island and he hoped that we had medical insurance. I was so shocked, I went numb. I was speechless. He also said that she must be admitted to the hospital for further tests.

I could not contain myself because the tears were unceasing. I did not know how to break the news to her dad, so I asked, “Lord What am I going to do?” I cried so much, and still I did not realize that this was a plan of the enemy.

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[ Brittany McIntosh ]

Breaking the news to our daughter was much more disturbing but it had to be done. She had to be admitted to the hospital very early the next day. Brittany was a beautiful, loving and intelligent child. She would excel in everything that she did. She liked school so much that I knew it would be a challenge not attending. She also had a puppy named Cleo, and I knew that her heart would be breaking to leave her behind. We told her that she had to be admitted to the hospital so that the doctors would try to make her better, so we had to allow her to wear her school uniform. We knew that wearing it would make her very happy. Brittany was in so much pain, and to me this disease seemed to be getting worse.

Brittany was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday 27th October 2004. Tests were done to rule out other possibilities. By evening the results were the same, and yes, she indeed had the cancer called AML. This disease affects the blood. Brittany’s Bone Marrow was producing immature cells and they were cancerous. “O my God!” where are you? What am I going to do?” The doctors at the hospital questioned us about Medical Insurance. They told us that we will need it because she had to leave the island very soon because the cancer was travelling rapidly.

“O God! please help us!” I cried. It was only then that I remembered that a medical insurance package came with her dad’s job. This policy could be used because it was a year old. I prayed, I cried and I really asked God for His help. Finally, on Friday 29th October 2004, Airline tickets and some money were given to us and the three of us were on our way to Philadelphia on US Airways. Although these things were happening, I still did not see God’s hand as yet in this plan that Satan had for me until much later.

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Over in Philadelphia, the doctors at The Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia were waiting for us to attend to Brittany. Further tests were done, and finally she was admitted to room cso7 on the oncology section. Although Brittany was in a lot of pain, she was very happy and brave because she had taken her second trip with her parents. There was no guarantee that Brittany’s body would respond to the chemotherapy treatment that would send this cancer into remission so that a Bone Marrow transplant could be done.

On Monday 1st November 2004, a Spinal Tap was done to determine whether the cancer was in her spine or in her brain. The results were that no cancer was found. I was very tired, stressed and I was wondering where was God when I needed him? Up to this time I still didn’t understand that Satan was using this situation to drive me insane with worry. It seemed like he was getting the upper hand of the situation because I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly.

Exactly one week later, after her dad returned to our homeland, I found myself on my knees praying and begging God to help me. I told God that everything in my life was going wrong and asked “Please show me what to do”. The Lord told me “My Child, keep your eyes on me.” I replied, “I will try, but you have to help me.” I felt convicted, guilty and ashamed. It was only then that I realized that I was not letting go and allowing God to have His way with me. It was at this time that I truly realized what God said to me earlier in the year 2004. He had forewarned me. “You will be travelling and you will not be returning to the job that you are doing now.”

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Finally I decided to fully trust God, though I could not trace him. I started to read God’s Word daily and pray earnestly to Him. Only then was I able to see the hand of God working through my situation.

My eyes were opened spiritually, and I saw why God placed me in Philadelphia. He placed me to witness to the doctors, nurses, parents of the children who also had cancer and could not cope. Also to anyone who did not know Him as their personal Saviour. With God’s help I was able to encourage many to trust in God, leaving everything in His hands. I continued to pray for strength to take me through this situation that Satan had planned and which seemed to be gaining ground.

[ Brittany McIntosh ]

Our daughter Brittany had to go through different rounds of chemotherapy treatments and none worked! At one time only 5% of her little body was working! Despite all this she remained brave and she continued praying and asking Jesus to “please heal her like he healed Jairius’ daughter”. Brittany had so much faith that I was seeing her as an angel. I asked God to be with us and be with Brittany through it all, but the enemy was still trying to control the situation. I started to thank God for how He was using my situation for my good and the good of others and for His Glory and Honour to shine forth! The doctors told us that there was nothing more that could be done for her. We were hurting and all this time Brittany was smiling and wooing her way into everyone’s heart with her singing, her artwork and her dancing. I saw doctors and nurses crying openly because they knew that she was going to die soon.

I realized that there will only be two directions or outcomes in which this situation would end up. Either God would heal her to stay with us on earth or He would heal her as He took her home. I knew that God’s will was to heal our daughter, and take her home with him. She would not be in any more pain. Brittany requested that she would like to go back to her homeland to be with her family and friends. On Wednesday March 16th 2005, we returned from Philadelphia. I remember that before we left she said to me, “Momma, I don’t think that I am going to make it. I’m trying to hold on, but it is too much pain. Would you and daddy remember me when I die? I want to be remembered.” The day before Brittany died, she said to me “Mum, I am going to die, I am going to die tomorrow. Tell everyone good-bye for me.” Brittany died on Friday April 1st 2005 at 9.45pm.

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In Brittany’s short life she loved God with a passion. Her favourite song was “Jehovah Reigns Forever.” She touched many lives, both at home and abroad. With her captivating smile, her peaceful spirit, her bravery and her integrity, even in her sickness. She has left a legacy behind! She is missed by all. I am truly blessed to have been her mother. We buried her in her favourite colour purple and we placed her much loved stuffed toy puppy in her arms. In her memory, her dad and I donated a shield to her former school The Rock Christian Primary School.

In closing, this situation was a testing of my faith in God. What Satan had planned for me was to bring me to shame and disgrace, and make me lose my salvation by not trusting and depending on God, but God used those plans for good. Despite all that I have been through and am still going through, I have learnt a very valuable lesson. Proverbs 3:5 & 6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy paths.” My dear friends in Christ, remember what ever may come your way, please hold on to God who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.